Eventually, the redefinition of translation I propose via self-translation may prove to have wider metaphorical implications that are empowering to those groups commonly viewed as impoverished or secondary through their comparison with translation.
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Debates about self-translation are primarily concerned with literary translation, no doubt because this is where the stakes of authorship, authority, and originality are highest. The modesty of this attitude is strikingly different from the bold claims for textual interpretation made by readers emancipated from the authority of the author by poststructuralist thinking, for to paraphrase Roland Barthes, the death of the author has not quite yet heralded the birth of the translator.
XXXVI, translation compensates for a linguistic lack, while simultaneously erasing the multilingual nature of its task. Even more interesting — or perhaps one should say appalling — the index of the Beckett biography authorized or unauthorized as it may be does not even contain the words bilingual or bilingualism, translating or self-translating. One consequence of the marginalization of self-translation as a practice is that it reinforces Western models in which monolingualism, rather than multilingualism, are the norm.
Yet in many places in the world, multilingualism is clearly the rule rather than the exception. Critics responding to self-translated texts are forced to acknowledge the extent to which multiple languages may be present, or leave traces, in any given text. In this reading, a self-translated text is more than the chance contiguity of two languages; instead, it involves degrees of reciprocal interference, which deviate from the assumption of a hermetic original confined to a single, pure language.
This theoretical omission has become increasingly evident as the creative inter- Shread 55 facing of multiple languages has gained an expanded presence in the literary scene as a result of postcolonial and transnational cultural expression. In France, from to , television literary celebrity Bernard Pivot aired a show entitled Double Je, which focused entirely on his interviews with authors bilingual in French and another language. In any event, once the range of texts considered is extended from French texts to the wider Francophone field, with all its complex linguistic and cultural history, many more instances of self-translation, both practical and metaphorical, are evident.
Huston has received many prestigious prizes in France and is not shy of entering into the media spotlight for debates about her work. Unlike Beckett, who started writing in his native English and later shifted to French, for the first ten years Huston wrote only in French, apparently turning her back on her mother tongue, English. However, since the early s she has consistently composed her texts in French and English, and there are now at least ten novels available in both languages, in addition to a host of interviews and other nonfiction publications see Ducker, for example.
While Huston observed that her birth as a writer in French began in with the death of her mentor Roland Barthes, she only began to self-translate in the s following Plainsong, a novel in which she returned imaginatively to her childhood home in the Canadian Anglophone province of Alberta. XXXVI, What this argument fails to recognize is that Huston already had a considerable number of books written only in French; ironically, Cantique des plaines was the first to have an English counterpart.
However, by making this claim not in a bureaucratic or legal context, but rather on the hallowed ground of literary creation, Huston goes for the jugular. Typically, however, when self-translation is not ignored, it is kept under some form of quarantine. Those critics who discuss self-translation in relation to Huston or other self-translators usually propose Shread 59 supplementary models to talk about self-translation, rather than inferring that examination of this practice might modify conventional notions of translation.
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Fitch, for example, proposes intra-intertextuality to discuss the specificities of self-translated texts, 4 McGuire introduces the notion of self-translated texts as parallel texts, 5 and Nicola Danby subsumes self-translation under bilingual writing. In contrast, I suggest that self-translation challenges this dominant definition by inviting our understanding of translation to move beyond a binary framework that does not allow for multiplicity, towards a notion of coauthorship.
XXXVI, changes, choices, and developments are inherent to any translation, by abandoning the authorization of the author in favor of the play of the text, translation is able to reconnect with its excluded others — imitation, paraphrase, and adaptation. This expansive, liberating vision of translation is one of the most important consequences of using selftranslation to redefine translation. Here we have two texts, one French, one English, not in separate volumes, but face to face on the page, with all the gaps, elisions, leaps, additions, and extensions of the translation plain to see.
Through this innovative publishing decision, Huston expressed the euphoria, liberties, and excitement of living and writing in two languages, along with a testimony of crisis, of tensions and angst, precipitated by linguistic complexity. Grumble grumble grumble Or at least that we want to get a head. Marmonne, bougonne, marmotte. Ou que, du moins, derechef Close the way Miss Muffet is close to the spider. Me sens sale mot, sentir si proche du vieux Sam ces jours-ci.
Yet this process is at work in all translation; I point this out to explode the current category of translation and thereby allow for greater movement in both the origi- Shread 61 nal and the translation.
Tanqueiro ascribes perfect self-transparency to the author of the creative act and thereby distinguishes self-translators from translators: In terms of subjectivity there will be no gap between the author and translator; he will never unwittingly misinterpret his own work [ The author has no special authority [ Man or woman, the argument I am interested in making about the unruly practice of self-translation combines a poststructuralist approach with a complex understanding of subjectivity.
For instance, in Les variations de Goldberg, the author speaks from the position of thirty different individuals, and in many of her subsequent novels, the narrative is based on a juxtaposition of perspectives. It is because both writing and translation enable the performance of alternate identities that they are compelling and necessary activities: our need to move beyond individual subjectivities into subjectivities-as-encounter is met in these ways, despite the dominant accounts of writing that posit the 62 FLS, Vol.
XXXVI, heroic, self-coinciding individual as the source of creative expression. In his letters, Beckett described self-translation as a chore: sick and tired I am of translation and what a losing battle it is always. Wish I had the courage to wash my hands of it all [ I have nothing but the wastes and wilds of self-translation before me for many miserable months to come. We might well ask, then, what is the source of this discomfort? And further, why do authors feel compelled to endure such an unpleasant task? Firstly, I believe that the difficulty is in part the result of the immense effort required to make space for multiple subjectivity in a culture in which considerable forces combine to constrain severality into discrete, individual, and isolated units.
To forge connections among multiplicity: this is one of the tasks of the translator — whether these bonds are within or without the self.
Tom Ireland / Long distance yearning
Secondly, the fact that the task of translating is neither easy nor pleasant is an important point, particularly in the context of a reconceptualization of translation paradigms. In arguing for a generative view of translation — a view that would replace the current paradigm based on degenerative models of inferior copies — I do not wish to be accused of idealizing translation. Self-translation is painful in part because it also points to conflicts, to points of resistance within subjectivities-in-encounter.
A generative model of translation should not Shread 63 be conflated with this idealized heuristic fiction which has come into being along with translation studies. Rather, the move from discourses premised on loss to an appreciation of the gains of translation also assumes the ethical responsibilities, conflictual encounters, and creative possibilities of growth through translation. These insights into multiplicity in writing and self -translating allow us to move from the singular original text, dominated by, and stubbornly rooted in, the conceit of individual creation, towards a larger conception of authorship, one that has room to allow for the possibility of collaboration and in which author, reader, and translator act as partners in the elaboration of a text that is always unstable, undetermined, open to extension, dissension, and interpretation.
Yet, in laying claim to the generative possibilities of translation, the conception of self-translation that I have proposed goes beyond mere survival and plays an important role in drawing attention to the agency of translators. XXXVI, nature of the source text, then the process and goals of translation appear in a different light. My hope is that further research into the neglected area of self-translation will resolve a significant theoretical aporia in the field while simultaneously contributing to a new conception of the goals, strategies, and nature of translation.
Works Cited Akai, Joanne.
Translation in French and Francophone Literature and Film. (French Literature)
English: West Indian Writing as Translation. Baker, Mona. Translation and Conflict: A Narrative Account. Beaujour, Elizabeth. Vladimir E. New York: Garland Publishing, Besemeres, Mary. Oxford: Peter Lang, Chamberlain, Lori. Conrath, Robert.
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Danby, Nicola. Ducker, Carolyn. Federman, Raymond.
Alan Warran Friedman et al. Fitch, Brian. Shread 65 Green, Julian.
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Paris: Seuil, Grutman, Rainier. Mona Baker. New York: Routledge, Harrington, Katherine. Hokenson, Jan Walsh, and Marcella Munson. Manchester: St. Jerome, Huston, Nancy. Cantique des plaines. Arles: Actes Sud, Nord perdu, suivi de Douze France. France: Barrault, Jakobson, Roman.
Reuben Brower. Cambridge, Mass. Kinginger, Celeste. Klein-Lataud, Christine. McGuire, James. Oustinoff, Michael. Tanqueiro, Helena. Allison Beeby et al.
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Enlarging Translation, Empowering Translators. Whyte, Christopher. Kosslyn et R. Ainsi des jouets objets concrets: cubes de bois, tapis, jeu de cartes, etc. And who knows Soon the universe. And who knows By and by the universe. Falls and makes rings in the water Falls in the water and makes circles.
Ces questions restent ouvertes. Il joue 82 FLS, Vol.